To derive maximum benefit from Carticel® (autologous cultured chondrocytes) implantation, you should strictly follow your rehabilitation program.
This plan will begin as early as the day of the surgery and will include exercises that help you increase your range of motion, progressively bear weight on your knee, and strengthen your muscles. Crutches are usually needed for six weeks following surgery. A CPM machine (a device that gently rocks your knee like a baby in a cradle) is usually prescribed for three weeks. I also recommend the use of a joint supplement (CosaminDS) which I believe enhances the growth of new joint surface.
You will start fitness related conditioning very quickly, usually after 10 to 14 days. You may expect to resume low impact activities as early as six months after treatment. High level activity such as basketball or tennis should be restricted for 12 months or longer, as this will allow the new cartilage in your knee to grow and mature.